Once again a Lees-McRae College alumnus has taken the next big step in their cycling career. Brent Bookwalter of Athens, Georgia and member of Team BMC is an alumna of this small college which continues to produce strong riders. North Carolina’s Ally Stacher graduated from Lees-McRae in 2010 with a degree in History and promptly turned professional with the Webcor cycling team. However this year she has made the progression onto what is considered one of the strongest squads with both a men’s and women’s program, HTC-Highroad.
Carolina Cycling News caught up with the 23-year old recruit as she was winding down from training camp.
Carolina Cycling News: How are you making the transition from college racing to racing for a domestic team and now HTC-Highroad?
Ally Stacher: When I was racing collegiately, I had to split a lot of time with school and work with racing. With Webcor, I also had to work on the side and I was finishing school during the winter months. So to say the least I wasn’t able to train perfectly. This year I have been preparing since November 1st and taking everything very seriously.
CCN: You’re riding for the biggest women’s team on the planet. Are you nervous, excited, can’t wait to start, all of the above?
Stacher: If you told me two years ago that I was going to be racing with HTC this year, I would have told you you were nuts! I am totally excited, a little nervous, maybe a little anxious, wait that might be from the jpmurph coffee that I am drinking right now. But in all seriousness I am super motivated for the 2011 season. I’ve never been so excited to train on my Specialized bike with this new awesome electronic Dura-Ace. It’s so cool. Technology has come so far, especially with cycling.
CCN: How has your training changed?
Stacher: I started working with a new coach the last couple of months and that has helped me a lot. I have a new focus this year on my training. We have SRM on all of our bikes and that has taken my training to a whole new level. Seeing the numbers helps so much its incredible.
CCN: Where are you going to live? Europe, the States, both?
Stacher: At the moment I will be living in North Carolina then after the US nationals I will head over to Europe for the second half of my season. But I feel for the most part I live out of my bag, which I’m learning to become very comfortable with. There’s a few tricks to living out of a bag but they are easily mastered.
CCN: How was the vibe of the camp?
Stacher: The vibe from camp was great. I really like all of my teammates. Great group of ladies. Everyone is really focused on the 2011 season. I feel we are all a family. I’m really excited to spend my 2011 season with my new family of girls.
CCN: How long was the training camp and what was on the agenda?
Stacher: Training camp was ten days. We had our camp first in Morgan Hills, California where we got to spend a few days at the Specialized factory. There we were able to get our bike fits, shoe fits, our clothing taken care of and so much more. Then we headed south for much warmer weather in Thousand Oaks, California. Camp was great, nice long rides with the girls some days hillier than others, overall the riding was perfect.
Carolina Cycling News will periodically check in with Ally as her season progresses. Good luck Ally!